MP recalls his ‘affectionate’ memories of Lady Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher meets MP Francis Maude and former Horsham MP Peter Hordern in Gatwick in 1996 -photo by steve cobb
Margaret Thatcher meets MP Francis Maude and former Horsham MP Peter Hordern in Gatwick in 1996 -photo by steve cobb

Horsham MP Francis Maude was once caught ‘on the wrong side of Baroness Thatcher’s tongue’ he recalled this week as he paid tribute to the Iron Lady.

Mr Maude, who has been involved in planning Lady Thatcher’s funeral for four years, was serving in her Cabinet during the 1980s in various roles.

10 mar 1989 Purley rail crash, commuter train derailed killing local horsham workers on way to London PM Margaret Thatcher visits injured SC

10 mar 1989 Purley rail crash, commuter train derailed killing local horsham workers on way to London PM Margaret Thatcher visits injured SC

He said: “The memories are very affectionate. My father knew her very well. He worked closely to her in the Seventies and he was one of first the senior Conservatives to spot her potential and support her.

“I knew her in the Eighties and was thrilled to be asked to join the Government.

“I remember being in meetings with her when I got on the wrong side of her tongue. I remember electricity privatisation where Nigel Lawson and I were arguing a rather more radical approach than she was willing to go for.

“We knew in those occasions we had to pick ourselves up off the floor, but she liked an argument if you had the facts and she spotted very quickly if you didn’t.

“My other big memory was when my number three child Harry was born he was quite ill and in the duration she went to the trouble of writing a hand-written note to us at a very busy time.

“One of her children was inexplicably unwell when they were young and she gave that reassurance.

“She was very kind natured.”

He said he was shocked to hear the news of her death this week. “I had picked up that she clearly had not been well for some time. There was a sense in which this was a merciful relief.

“I know her quality of life had been slipping and when it came to it, it was quick and merciful.”